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Rietheim-Weilheim, July 2021 – Marquardt has been an established name in the innovative sensor technology market for decades. Now, washing machine manufacturers can benefit from a new product developed by the globally active mechatronics specialist: a 3D sensor that significantly increases a machine's performance, sustainability and service life, and that ensures quieter operation. “We're taking washing machines to a whole new level with this product,” says Till Plitschka, Global Team Leader Sales at Marquardt.
Small components, big impact
The system consists of two elements: a magnet attached to the drum that moves in three directions, and a sensor on the machine’s casing that detects the position of the sensor. The 3D sensor measures the position as well as the load in the drum while the machine is inactive. The measured data is transmitted to the machine's control unit, which then calculates the exact amount of washing detergent and water required. This enables the machine to respond flexibly to different loads and to accurately calculate the required energy consumption. The measurement speed, and therefore also the transmission of data, is six times faster with a Marquardt 3D sensor than with conventional sensors. As a result, the precision of the drum position measurement is considerably increased. The effects of this are clearly visible, audible and tangible for the end customer; the machine produces cleaner results, spins more quietly and uses less detergent, water and electricity. Plus, the increased precision of unbalanced load detection means that less stress is placed on the machine’s bearings and joints, which in turn contributes to a longer service life.
Automatic calibration software
The hardware consists of a Hall sensor, which houses a chip with two magnetic pixels. This chip significantly improves the transmission of data from all three spatial axes to the washing machine’s control unit; whereas the transfer speed was previously 9.6 kbit, it is now 250 kbit. Intelligent software adds to the product’s sophistication in that its algorithms enable automatic calibration of the system. This makes installation easier for manufacturers. The software is a result of a successful collaboration between Marquardt and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, which developed the Hall sensor chip and algorithms. Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Frank Allmendinger from Furtwangen University was also involved in the innovation process.
Precision in the smallest of spaces
The new 3D sensor is of particular interest to manufacturers looking for success on the European market. In contrast to U.S. and Asian markets, the European standard machine width of 60 centimeters as well as energy efficiency requirements impose limits on the manufacture of washing machines. The particular problem here is that while drum sizes and load capacities are on the rise, the machines themselves can't be made any larger, which results in the conditions inside the casing becoming ever tighter. Through precise measurement and control at an optimal speed, the Marquardt 3D sensor offers the opportunity to enlarge the drum without increasing the size of the washing machine itself.Download Press Release (16 MB, ZIP)